Monthly Archive: April 2010

The Friendship Thing.

This is in response to Alachia’s Post the other day.  Her musings made me think about my own friendship situation.

I really do not have any friends here in Denver.  My one friend that I was close to when we lived here before was a friend from way back in college. Unfortunately, she passed away a couple of years after we moved.  The other ‘friends’ were book club friends.  I could get back in touch with them, but I don’t really think I have much in common with them.

I actually know a few people who live here that I knew in Adelaide, Australia too.  We were ex-pat ‘wife friends’.  These are friends that mean the world to you when you are an ex-pat and are desperate too socialize with when you are a ‘stranger’ overseas — you’re suffering from culture shock and really need those other people who are culture shocked around you.  Since moving here, I have only seen two of them once each.  I’m sure they are wonderful people, and I wouldn’t run away if I saw them in the supermarket, but we don’t REALLY have much in common other than having been a good support network for each other when we were ‘foreign’.

I also know a couple of people via Facebook that I was friends with at college in Wyoming about a million years ago.  We made some noises about meeting up — but … meh.

Of course, I am close friends with my two super bosses – but I don’t think that counts.

I have tons of friends in Norway.  Far far away friends.  We aren’t wonderful at staying in touch, just Facebook, Gowalla, and the occasional email.  But when we DO see each other, everything is still the same – we’re just as good friends as we were when we were living in the same city.  I miss them.  Same goes for my friends in Australia — I have really, really good friends in Australia … I miss them, but we don’t get on the phone or write long letters to each other or anything.  And I don’t tend to go around with an aching in my heart because I miss them or anything. It’s not even really something I think about on a daily basis.

All my other friends are online.  I don’t even talk to them using my voice – online written words and images. Chat rooms, Flickr, Facebook, and Buzz.  Oh and tweets.  Although the VAST majority of the people I follow aren’t my friends.  A few I DO consider my friends though, and hopefully they know who they are.  And I feel strangely closer to a few really good friends from high school and college years than I have in a really long time.  And I am so grateful for Facebook for that.  Friends that I have only ‘met’ in the last year or two online also can feel very special to me at times.  I do call them my ‘friends’ when I speak about them.

The thing that struck me the most about Alachia’s musings on friendship is that she said she sometimes longs for the physical aspects of friendship.  And I wonder if I am strange or cold-hearted since I generally don’t feel that kind of loneliness.  I don’t have a longing to connect with people in real life on a daily basis.  I have my family (hubbie and the boys) of course — and being there physically with them gives me all that I need in the physical realm really.

But then, again, I do think it would be very exciting to meet my online friends in the physical world, and there are a few that I wish lived closer so I could hang out with them one afternoon.  But in general, the idea of having a physical friendship that I would have to nurture exhausts me.  My life is already so full – working, mothering, shooting pictures, writing, and playing – I just don’t know when I’d have the TIME to take on something/one new!!  Seriously, I find it exhausting just thinking about it!  And I just KNOW I would fail miserably at it.  I would resent ‘having to’ talk on the phone, meet up for lunch, or, God forbid! on a precious weekend!  I have the occasional night out with my bosses – that keeps me pretty happy.

So, maybe I’m weird.  I actually count myself LUCKY that I have such a rich social life online that I don’t NEED to cultivate real life friendships.  What a whacko 🙂

Besides, I have Toulouse.

The Photography Class

Moving mail truck
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

My photography class is so interesting!

I’m only on the third chapter, but already learning so very, very much. The first two chapters were about digital photography and your camera very much in general. I had to learn stuff about my camera that I had never even bothered to look up in the manual. I was always planning to, but never got around to it.

Chapter 3 has been all about shutter speed and what it does to exposure. It has also included some special effects that can be achieved by using shutter speed.

I finished reading the chapter a while ago, but much of the assignment for the chapter involved using a tripod, which I didn’t have. I ordered up one from Amazon, and it arrived yesterday. I didn’t order a super expensive one, but one that got good reviews for the price.

And today, on a VERY windy day in Denver, I walked over to our nearest intersection to the subdivision and set up shop. I learned a tremendous amount. This picture of the moving mail truck was one of my better ones. I took a few shots on a slower shutter speed that made the cars look like they were moving much faster, but because of the speed limit in the area, those pictures turned out very overexposed. If I go somewhere where the cars speed along more quickly, I’ll get much better results.

All in all, an incredibly fun and educational assignment – I learned a lot – which was the point I think!

Exhausted Toulouse

Exhausted Toulouse
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

I was home sick today. The cold started Friday night. By Sunday I was dizzy at intervals. Today I was snotty.

And poor, poor Toulouse has had to look after me the whole time. He’s had to keep vigil by my bedside and on the couch.

And now, just look: he’s exhausted. Looking after his feeder is a very, very arduous task.


Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

I am at a junction, and it’s really quite exciting.

For many many years, I have toyed with the idea of writing ‘something’ – we’re talking something major here – like a novel or something.

Every time I try to write though, I am my own worst critic — it goes excruciatingly slowly. A sentence can take a week to get right, and then when the paragraph is finished, I read the first sentence again and just about make myself vomit. It all just sounds like teenage girl angst drivel to me.

I think I am cursed with having a Master’s in English. I will just never be Hemingway or Anita Shreve.

So, for the last year or so, I have been taking more and more photos – especially thanks to my Flickr and other Meta friends. And I have been getting more and more encouraged by what I see.

So, here is the crossroads where I make a turn and head down the road towards a new project.

I will create with photography instead. I have big plans for a project, but I have things to do before I can start working on it for real. First of all, I need to learn more about this form of expression. I don’t know how to use the tool: the camera. So, I have enrolled in a digital photography course online — it’s only very simple, but I hope it will help me understand the mechanics of this craft better. And then, if I am a good girl, and complete this course, I will get myself a ‘real’ camera, and learn to use IT.

And then I will begin creating.

I’m excited. And scared of failing – scared of being my own worst critic and paralyzing myself again. But writing here that I’m doing it will help me keep going – it’s out there now!

The Bedroom Stereo Timemachine

Bedroom stereo setup
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

As you know, we recently finished our basement – this had lots of other consequences – such as finally getting all our bookcases out of our master bedroom!

Without those bookcases there, the bedroom looked mighty empty, so we decided to set up a little music corner. We have all these cd’s bought between the years after they came out and before the rise of the mp3. And we had John’s old Bang & Olufsen stereo that he bought off some guy he worked with before we got married … with a GREAT set of speakers. The stereo hadn’t even been unpacked since we arrived back in the US over two years ago, because it doesn’t have the ability to play an iPod … and we didn’t really need it set up. But it seemed a waste to get rid of such a beautiful thing.

So, we have set it up there in the master bedroom. Now, whenever I put music on while having a shower, or hanging out up there generally, I feel like I’m stepping into a timewarp. All the music I have to play up there transports me back to some time between 1990-2000 or thereabouts. There are a couple of exceptions, but generally that’s true. It’s bizarre, but kind of fun – oh and the B&O still sounds AMAZING!

My salt licorice stash

My salt licorice stash
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

One of the bonuses of having my sister come visit recently was the stash of yummies she brought me from Norway. Here are three of my favorites. “Salt Sild” or “Salted Herring” is basically black licorice covered in salt. Oh my GOD – heavenly stuff. The yellow bag is full of little monkeys covered in salt.

My other favorite here is Tyrkisk Peber – or Turkish Pepper. I have actually seen this in the food section of Ikea sometimes – if you fancy trying 🙂 It’s a little candy with a spicy sort of powder inside. Highly addictive.

There are a couple more photos on my Flickr stream of the candies close up.

Photography Etiquette?

Costco Carts
Originally uploaded by Strumpet101

So, today’s Daily Shoot assignment was to shoot life. I grabbed my camera and ran off to Costco, where I had to go anyway. And quickly ran into some dilemmas.

Outside the store, I was fine, I snapped away happily – but then I went inside, and instantly saw just about the perfect shot. There was an elderly lady sitting in the cafeteria section eating ice-cream. She had the free-sample-lady uniform on – hairnet and all. My problem was that there was NO ONE else around. And I chickened out. To snap her the way I wanted to, I would have had to be about 10 feet from her, right in front of her. And it would have been obvious what I was doing!

So, what’s the etiquette here? Do you ask permission to take strangers’ portraits? Do you just snap away and act like it’s normal? I was at a loss. So, this one is what you get. I’d love to know what other photographers would do in that kind of situation.

It's official – I'm a fan

Having owned the iPad now for nearly 24 hours I have to say I am more than impressed.

It is amazingly fast, it looks absolutely gorgeous, and has even more functions than I expected it to have.

Last night we had a dinner party and it showed a great usefulness. It was constantly being passed around the table to share YouTube videos that were mentioned, look up facts that were In dispute, and to share photos! Really a fun and surprisingly handy addition to the evening.

And this morning, while I have been recovering from the dinner party’s indulgences, I have been lying back on the couch reading my favorite papers, catching up with Facebook, my Twitter feed, watched The Office streamed from my netflix account, surfed Flickr, and am now blogging – all still on the couch!
And the truly amazing thing is that the battery indicator says I still have 46 % battery life left from my first charge!

I know that everyone who has touched this thing wants one now?

And I am officially a fan.

— Post From My iPad

Brown palace spa and salon

Today, my sister and I went to the Spa at the Brown Palace hotel in Denver. Oh my oh my! I cannot recommend this place enough.

I have been to my share of spas, and I have to say that my therapist, Celina, was fabulous. The Signature massage was just what I needed — couldn’t be more relaxed! The pedicure was nice too, although not as exceptional as the massage.

The whole setting is of course quite the experience too! I have actually never been in to the Brown, which was obviously a bit of a mistake! The atrium itself is spectacular — and walking out from the end of my treatment to the sight of lots of women having a proper English High Tea was pretty interesting.

I’m sold.